The Pitfalls of Comparing Yourself to Others

In life, we spend an awful lot of our time comparing ourselves to others. Within the fitness industry, I find this to be even more frequent. It is so easy to be scrolling through social media (or look around ourselves in the gym), and see people who are shredded; who have the perfect glutes, are lifting impressive amounts etc. and sit there and wish to have some of their features. We are our own worst critic and are much quicker to point out our flaws and our neighboor’s achievements.

In the case of social media, it’s important to remember that we are seeing just a snippet of their life (often just one moment in the form of a picture). You are seeing these individuals at their absolute best: filtered, angled pictures or videos of what they want to share with perfectly crafted captions. They are showing you only what they want you to see, and nothing more. Social media is a great tool for everyone to use to inspire, motivate and educate others, to interact with one another and build positive, like-minded communities. However, it does not necessarily show us the full picture. Moreover, people show off their hard work because... why not! However,  they never let you know that having a six pack didn’t actually 'miraculously' change their life.

Everyone is different. We were born different, with different body shapes, sizes and genetics. What works for one may not work for another- for example, the way I eat may not be a diet that works for you. It’s important to focus on yourself, what your body needs and wants and what it is capable of. This may take some trial and error over a few months (I know it took me between 6 months -1 year to figure it out), but eventually you’ll find a personalised program and diet to help get you where you want to be and that works for you.

It's important to focus on progress, not perfection. In the health and fitness industry everyone is trying to find the 'magic pill' or quick fix, which unfortunately do not exist. These fads that get you in to shape quickly aren’t usually the best way to implement long lasting, sustainable lifestyle changes.  If there was the perfect diet and training program out there, we would all be doing it! Focus on the changes over the weeks and months and appreciate every millimeter or gram lost, every time you increase the weights in your lifts or every time you run a little faster. Appreciate all the progress you are making, not denigrate it because someone else may be progressing faster.

You don't know anyone else's background - their life circumstances, their background or their resources. For all you know, they may work with a personal trainer 5 days a week and have an executive chef to cook all their meals for them. Perhaps they don't work and can dedicate all of their time and effort to health and fitness. I’ve followed people on Instagram whose shape I would have worked so hard to achieve a year ago, only to find out a year later they never had a treat, a meal out, socialized with friends or went out for drinks, which is a lifestyle I couldn’t adhere to or sustain (and nor would I want to)/ Those people on IG or even in the gym who walk around shredded all year - maybe they’re fitness models and need to be like that for their job.

Moral of the story: it's impossible to know someone else and how their life circumstances compare to your own. With this being the case, how can you fairly compare yourself to someone else? While looking at what others have achieved can be a great tool to motivate you, don't use someone else's physique or results as a stick to grade yourself against. Use that comparison and reflection as motivation to be the best version YOU can be, not to look/be like someone else. Focus your energy into building a healthier lifestyle that you personally can adhere to and sustain for the long term.